Citrus is truly a global favorite.
- 2–3 citrus fruits (a variety is good)
- 7 tbsp buttermilk
- Generous 1/2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tbsp semolina or fine cornmeal
- A neutral-tasting oil, such as groundnut or sunflower, for deep-frying
- Smoked chili (chipotle) or hot smoked paprika (for lime slices)
- Herbes de Provence or za’atar (for orange slices)
- Fennel pollen or sumac (for lemon slices)
- Generous 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- A pinch of sugar
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
If serving with the dip, make this first – simply mix everything together and season with salt and pepper.
Top and tail the citrus fruit to the point where you get a good showing of flesh as opposed to pith and skin. Slice the fruit as finely as possible while keeping each slice intact, removing any pips.
Put the buttermilk in a bowl. Put the flour and semolina onto a plate and season with salt and pepper, then whisk briefly to combine and get rid of any lumps.
Dip the citrus slices in the buttermilk and shake or lightly scrape them to get rid of any excess. Drop the slices onto the flour mixture and give the plate a little shake. Flip over and repeat. Dust off any excess – you don’t want a thick coating as you want to see the detail from the citrus through the batter.
Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a heavy-based saucepan or fryer to about 180ºC/350ºF. Fry the slices a few at a time – when they start to go golden brown remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen paper. The slices will continue to brown once they are removed and will be nicely caramelized in patches.
Sprinkle with salt, then the corresponding spices and/or herbs for each fruit and serve with yogurt dip, if you like. Serves 4
About this recipe
“The idea for these comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Zuni Café Cookbook by the late Judy Rodgers. They are so unexpectedly moreish that there is a fine argument for eating them on their own, with just a sprinkle of salt – do try them that way at least once. But there are other things that do enhance the flavor. Lemon is good with a fine sprinkling of sumac or fennel pollen, lime loves a dash of smoked chili or cayenne, whilst orange I like with herbes de Provence or za’atar.
I don’t always bother with an accompaniment for these, but when I do, I make this yogurt dip. You can replace the fennel with any of the flavor suggestions mentioned above, or indeed anything else you fancy.” – Catherine Phipps
From Citrus by Catherine Phipps, photos by Mowie Kay, published by Quadrille April 2017.